Eliminate. Innovate. Circulate. Strategies from the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
Online | 8 July 2021 | 14:00-15:00 CEST
Within the framework of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation co-organized this panel discussion with the following objectives:
- Showcasing the different roles that tourism stakeholders can play in the initiative;
- Sharing insights on the strategies that the signatories are following to implement their commitments;
- Presenting the latest research on life-cycle assessments of plastic products;
- Welcoming the latest group of signatories to the initiative.
- Empowering tourism stakeholders to shift towards a circular economy of plastics in tourism;
During the panel, it was highlighted that:
- It is essential to make decisions based on evidence as much as possible, and not be afraid to integrate reuse models since the customers are becoming more interested.
- It is critical to be flexible when selecting implementation strategies to take into account the context in which we operate and local waste management capabilities.
- It is key to recognize the role of suppliers and the sustainable procurement process to identify innovations that are feasible to implement and do not result in unintended environmental impacts.
- It is important to enhance partnerships and share knowledge across stakeholders in the value chain so that all organizations in the sector can make progress.
During the session, 32 new signatories were welcomed to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative which provides a framework to tackle plastic pollution and support the tourism sector towards building a circular economy of plastics. As part of the support provided by the GTPI team to the tourism stakeholders to tackle the plastic pollution problem, a keynote presentation was delivered at the beginning of the session on “A Life Cycle Approach – Key messages for tourism businesses” as it is highly needed and essential for sustainable decision making.
The latest news about the GTPI is available here!
Tools and resources for implementing the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative are available here!
Dr. Dirk Glaesser is Director of the Sustainable Development of Tourism Department at the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Under his supervision, the programme addresses the challenges and opportunities of sustainable tourism development, including climate change, sustainable consumption and production, health emergencies, biodiversity and travel facilitation. It also promotes safe travel behavior and has closely monitored various health emergencies, from SARS, Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 to the most recent COVID-19 outbreak, and their impact on travel and tourism. He joined the World Tourism Organization in 1997 and has held various positions in UNWTO, among them Chief of the Risk and Crisis Management Department and supervisor of UNWTO’s Consulting Unit on Biodiversity and Tourism. Dr. Glaesser is a banker by profession and a Colonel of the Reserve.
Pablo Montes is a Private Sector Specialist for UN Environment Programme advancing sustainable consumption and production through the engagement of private sector actors and the coordination of key stakeholders. He manages the international project “Transforming Tourism Value Chains” and co-leads the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative. Pablo’s experience is at the intersection of business and environment across multiple sectors, with a special emphasis on collective impact. Before UNEP, Pablo led the Corporate Engagement strategy in WWF Colombia and managed partnerships in the energy, agriculture, and food and beverage sectors to promote water stewardship, sustainable value chains, and the transition to clean energy. Pablo holds a joint-degree master from Yale University—a Master of Environmental and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Julie Allison is VP Sustainability & Transformation at Accor. With over 15 years of experience across a large variety of sectors and companies, Julie Allison has developed an expertise in leading transformation, shaping and implementing new programs, as well as building the right teams to run them. She presently heads Accor’s Sustainability team, working alongside Brune Poirson, Accor Comex Member and Chief Sustainability Officer. Julie previously served as Chief of Staff to Accor Chairman and CEO Sebastien Bazin, coordinating Accor leaders and stakeholders across the group through the unprecedented context of Covid-19. She builds on a decidedly people and customer-centric approach, using her consulting background and thorough understanding of business drivers to ease the group’s transformation into a future-proof, sustainability-driven company.
Sibylle Riedmiller is the Founder and Director of Chumbe Island Coral Park. After 2 decades of working as international aid project manager for education reform projects, Sibylle created from 1991 her own social impact business, Chumbe Island Coral Park in Zanzibar/Tanzania, which has become the first privately established and managed Marine Park worldwide, where park management and education programs are funded by ecotourism. Innovative Eco-architecture was developed for close-to-zero impact on the protected coral reef and forest, thus all energy for the Chumbe ecolodge and Visitors' Centre is provided by the sun, water is generated by rainwater catchment and sewage is totally avoided by composting toilets and vegetative greywater filtration systems. Avoiding plastic waste was central to operations from the beginning, thus Chumbe Island is now campaigning for GTPI at destination level.
Joshua Wong is the Manager of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited. Joshua leads the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability function at The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited – the owner and operator of the iconic Peninsula Hotels and luxury commercial properties, clubs and services. He has broad experience on improving company’s sustainability performance, enhancing internal policies and guidelines, driving more effective environmental, social and governance disclosure, engaging with internal stakeholders and identifying collaboration opportunities with like-minded partners. He was also involved in the development of the company’s sustainability strategy called Sustainable Luxury Vision 2030, which covers emerging topics such as climate risks, sustainable building, circular economy, responsible sourcing, animal welfare, modern slavery, diversity and inclusion, and community investment.
José Hernández Bautista is the Regional Quality & Process Improvement Sr. Manager Europe at PALLADIUM HOTEL GROUP. He is hospitality professional with +20 years’ experience who has worked in 5 different countries (Ireland, Sweden, Portugal, Netherlands and Spain) for different international hotel chains like Starwood Hotels or Marriott and now working for Palladium Hotel Group as regional manager of quality and process improvement Europe where I’m in charge of our regional sustainable initiatives such as the global plastic free elimination making sure of the alignment of our actions across the regions.
Madhu is the Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, working closely with our member companies, partners and key stakeholders to guide the industry’s collaborative efforts on sustainability and community engagement. She joined International Tourism Partnership – our former organisation, as Director in June 2018.Madhu began her career in the hospitality and tourism industry in 1998, working in operations, sales and marketing with leading companies, including Marriott International, Hilton, Starwood and Emirates Airlines across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the UK. Since 2009, Madhu has worked in the not-for-profit sector on a range of development issues, including poverty and inequality, education and livelihoods, gender equality, water and sanitation, sustainable cities and human rights.
Virginia Fernandez-Trapa is Programme Officer of the Sustainable Development of Tourism Department at the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). She is responsible for the implementation of initiatives addressing environmental sustainability, such as the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme on sustainable consumption and production, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, which aims to build a circular economy for plastics, and workstreams on food loss and waste reduction, biodiversity protection and climate action. Virginia joined UNWTO in 2007, she has a Law Degree from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Masters on Sustainable Development of Tourism and Destination Policy and Strategy Management.